Selina Wamucii, a mobile platform that cuts down the agricultural supply chain in Kenya, reducing food wastage and increasing farmers’ incomes, is to get a major boost from global social impact programme Expo Live, run by organisers of the next World Expo, Expo 2020 Dubai.
The mobile platform was founded in June 2015 by John Oroko and Gaita Kariuki, both of whom were born and raised in smallholder families. The company is named after the co-founders’ mothers.
Selina Wamucii aims to improve the agricultural supply chain by enabling buyers and exporters to source fresh produce directly from smallholder farmers, even without access to the internet because Some 60 per cent of food produced by smallholder farmers in Africa never reaches the market due to supply chain inefficiencies. It passes efficiency savings on to both smallholder farmers and buyers, while ensuring a greater proportion of fresh produce reaches the market.
John Oroko stated that the rationale behind setting up the platform is that they saw the challenges faced by their parents and they decided to study engineering in order to use technology to help farmers. He said, “Both Gaita and I saw the challenges faced by our parents so we studied to become engineers and decided to use our knowledge to help farmers. By enabling users to buy seedlings and better equipment, our platform is helping farmers to become self-sufficient.
The solution digitises the entire supply chain without requiring farmers to have access to smartphones or the internet. Smallholder farmers can register on the platform by dialling a code from their mobile phones. Selina Wamucii then collects data relating to location, produce type, volume and projections to match farmers with the right buyers.
When large-scale exporters place orders, Selina Wamucii sources produce from farmers according to their location. The company contracts agents to collect and deliver the harvests, as well as to train and monitor registered farmers.
“Some of our mango farmers have increased their incomes by 60 per cent, allowing them to pay for medical bills and their children’s school fees. We also see smallholders investing their money back into the farm to increase yields.”
However, the Kenyan agritech platform has revealed plans to use the $100, 000 grant it received from a Dubai-based innovation and partnership programme called Expo 2020 Dubai to improve its mobile platform, recruit 2000 more farmers and to enter European markets.
The start-up is also looking forward to develop its platform by adding Swahili and two other dialects. Read full press release here